Having amassed a fortune in the Ammi Wright Lumber Company, which held thirty thousand acres of timberland in Gladwin, Clare, and Roscommon counties and was one of the largest to operate in the Saginaw Valley, Ammi Willard Wright (1822–1912) came to Alma in 1884. Two years later he built for himself and his second wife, Anna Case, this large stone house designed by Detroit architects Spier and Rohns, who were noted for their designs for railroad depots. The boxy Richardsonian Romanesque building of randomly coursed rock-faced Ionia sandstone rests on a Vermont granite foundation. From it project gables, bays, and porches ornamented with balustrades, columns, and carved and checkerworked sandstone. The hipped roof is covered with clay tile. The house had the modern conveniences of hot and cold running water, gas lighting, and was wired for the future use of electricity. The chimneys and the porte-cochere have been removed. G. S. Young of Alma supervised its construction. Wright helped the burgeoning city of Alma in the 1880s by building a hotel, an opera house, and a sanitarium. He also invested in the sugar refinery, other manufacturing companies, banks, and railroads, and contributed to Alma College, the Masons, and the city. The handsome stone house says something about the strength of the character of this mid-Michigan capitalist. Today the house may face demolition by neglect.
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Ammi Willard and Anna Case Wright House
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